Kitchen Witch: Mortar and Pestle

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The blender and food processor of earlier times, the mortar and pestle are still used by some cooks to crush or to grind herbs and nuts. Prehistoric mortars have been found among the archaeological remains of many peoples dating back to neolithic times. Mortars identical to those used by preconquest Mexican peoples are still used in contemporary Mexico. Many Indian tribes of southern California fashioned mortars by grinding holes into huge rocks. A round stone was used as the pestle. As a child, I often threw acorns into such mortars in the Laguna Mountains near San Diego. I even tried to grind the acorns, as had the Diegueno Indians. Food processors are important tools for many of us, and they do save time. They, or the mortar and pestle, can be used if you wish. Grinding two cups of almonds with a mortar and pestle is a lengthy business, but while doing so we can pour our personal power into the food and concentrate on its eventual use.